What prison was really like for Paris Hilton

Pop culture was shaken to its core in 2007 when Paris Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in prison for a probation violation — but what did she say about the experience?

For a refresher, according to Reuters, Hilton’s legal troubles began in late 2006. The heiress was arrested for reckless driving, and months later she pleaded not to contest the charges. She was then given a three-year probationary period, but just a month later, Hilton got in trouble with the law again. This time she had been driving without headlights, and when responding officers realized her probation meant a driver’s license suspension, a judge ordered her to serve time. That was only the beginning of the drama, however.

Just days after she turned herself in, Hilton was placed on house arrest for undisclosed medical reasons, according to The Guardian. However, the small victory was short-lived. As ABC News reported at the time, chaos ensued when the sheriff who ordered her house arrest got into a fight with the judge who sentenced her in the first place. As the outlet noted, Supreme Court Justice Michael T. Sauer complained, “At no point did I consent to the defendant being released from custody to her home.” Just like that, Hilton was sent back to the Century Regional Detention Facility . And although she was fired after 22 days for good behavior, according to Reuters, it’s clear the experience left a mark on the star.

Paris Hilton vowed to use her time behind bars forever

Understandably, Paris Hilton was dismayed at the prospect of going back to prison after her brief house arrest. However, when she returned, the DJ was determined to find the positive aspects of the situation, even if they were few.

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Speaking to Larry King after her release, she revealed that she had taken a lot of time to work on herself. “I just went by the motto, ‘Don’t serve time, let time serve you,'” she shared. Hilton also pointed out that while she would rather not have had the experience, she felt it was meant to happen. “I feel like God makes everything happen for a reason,” Hilton admitted. As for the other positives, Hilton noted that while she was locked in her own cell, the few interactions she had with other inmates were always pleasant, as were the staff. In a separate interview with Ryan Seacrest, conducted over the phone ahead of her release, she shared similar sentiments — even noting that the other inmates were nothing short of “really nice and supportive.”

However, despite the positive aspects, she often jokes about the food that is served in the detention center. “The food is terrible!” She laughed at Larry King, noting in particular a “mysterious flesh.” However, she knew that this wasn’t the end of the world. “This is prison food. It’s not supposed to be good,” she nodded.

…but she hasn’t forgotten the media reaction

Paris Hilton may have seen the positives during her time in prison, but she hasn’t forgotten how the media treated her after the ordeal.

On the contrary, she has recently shone the spotlight on the atrocities she has endured. Speaking with Sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild on an episode of the This Is Paris podcast, she specifically reflected on an interview with David Letterman. According to Hilton, Letterman’s team got in touch after her release. Hilton’s camp initially refused, but eventually gave in because she “felt it was a safe place.” After all, she had been on the show in the past, and Letterman’s team had promised there would be no prison-related questions. However, he refrained from doing so … on live television. “It was like he was just trying to humiliate me on purpose … during commercial breaks I would look at him … like, ‘Please stop this.'” she said. Worse, while Letterman agreed to quit during those breaks, he would get back to the questions right away when the cameras started rolling again. “It was just very cruel and very mean,” she said.

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Finally, Letterman apologized to Hilton during a 2008 broadcast of The Late Show. He also joked, “I’ve never been to jail myself, I understand it’s probably… not fun.” Her answer? “Oh no.” Positive aspects aside, it’s safe to say that prison is not an experience that Hilton plans to repeat anytime soon!